Carlow suffered their third defeat in this year’s Allianz National Hurling League Division 2A after a Faithful win in Tullamore
Carlow’s dream of promotion to division one ended with defeat in Tullamore on Saturday after Offaly inflicted the third defeat on the barrow-siders. Relegation is now still a strong possibility with Tom Mullally’s team lying precariously close to the bottom of the table with only one point separating Carlow/Derry and Down.
Weather conditions were horrendous in Tullamore as the visitors struggled to get to grips with their home side’s intensity and sharpness. Offaly who are making great strides under Johnny Kelly will be hoping for a big push this year in the Joe McDonagh Cup which will be commencing in the next couple of weeks. A couple of unreal scores from play along with some exhibition free-taking from Eoghan Cahill saw Offaly take a 0-09 to 0-04 lead with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
Needing a response from the start of the second half, Carlow cut Offaly’s lead to three points as Marty Kavanagh pointed three excellent frees and Ciarán Whelan grabbed a score from play to open his account for the day and make it 0-13 to 0-10. However, the task was made hard when Diarmuid Byrne received his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card.
A second red card soon followed: after initially not giving a free, referee Michael Kennedy had a conversation with his linesman Chris Mooney and after the consultation, Kennedy flashed a straight red card to Jack Kavanagh. Offaly made their numerical advantage count as they powered on right to the end to set up a top-of-the-table clash with Kildare this weekend to see who will go straight through to the National League Final. For Carlow, the result means they must beat Derry at the weekend to ensure their division 2 status for next year.
Speaking after the game, manager Tom Mullally told KCLR:
“To be fair to Offaly they got the win and their performance would have deserved the win overall, I would have to credit our own players for staying in the game when things were going according to plan, when you break it down and look at the final scoreline it was the conversion rates on both sides that was the difference between the two teams”.
“It wasn’t a great game of hurling but that’s the game we had to play today, we failed to adopt the opportunities that we did create, and our conversion rate really wasn’t good enough to win this game, you have to put your frees over the bar and you got to create what few opportunities can sometimes be there, we’ll learn from this game and try and bring it forward to the Joe Mac”.
Focus now moves towards the Joe McDonagh cup which commences for Carlow on April 8th, Mullally said :
“We all know that we’re playing in the Joe Mac and we know what that entails and that’s been our target, that’s where our test lies whether we’ll be good enough only time will tell, we have Derry next weekend and that’s the most immediate game that we face right now and that’s the most important thing for us is to get a performance and to tidy up some of the things that were missing today”.
Carlow welcomes Derry to Netwatch Cullen Parkin Allianz Hurling League Round 5 action this weekend as the barrow siders try to avoid relegation. Join us this Sunday on air, online, and in the KCLR app from 12.50 pm for the buildup to the big game. This game is thanks to with thanks to Ray Whelan Waste Management Ltd.